The 2022 ANZIAM Medal

Citation for Professor Emeritus Phil Broadbridge, FAustMS

The ANZIAM Medal is the Highest Award made by ANZIAM, and it is now awarded annually to exceptional individuals who have shown outstanding commitments to Research, to advancing the Discipline of Applied Mathematics, and to the ANZIAM Community.

It is an honour to award the 2022 ANZIAM Medal to Emeritus Professor Phil Broadbridge, of LaTrobe University. Phil has made outstanding and innovative contributions to Research, pioneering novel methods for finding exact solutions to difficult nonlinear partial differential equations that arise in a wide variety of important applications. He has demonstrated sustained leadership in Applied Mathematics at the International level, forging new links with colleagues in Asia, leading and growing the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) and accepting editorial roles in a variety of prestigious international Journals. Phil has also been a keen and passionate supporter of ANZIAM. He served as ANZIAM Chair and Deputy Chair, and introduced some new initiatives in that leadership role. He is an Associate Editor for the ANZIAM Journal. He has served as Conference Director for a February ANZIAM Conference, and has also taught AMSI subjects to Honours and Higher-Degree students.

Phil continues to be a friend, supporter and mentor to many in the ANZIAM Society, and is a most worthy recipient of the 2022 ANZIAM Medal.

Phil Broadbridge
Professor Emeritus Phil Broadbridge

Research Achievements

Phil Broadbridge has written two books, published over 140 scientific papers, and contributed more than 30 magazine and newspaper articles. He has wide ranging research interests, with publications in theoretical hydrology, metal surface evolution, heat conduction and Stefan free boundary problems, quantum mechanics of unstable systems, cosmology, symmetry methods for nonlinear partial differential equations, mathematical biology, financial mathematics and combustion.

Phil’s most highly cited contribution (over 400 citations) is in the field of hydrological modelling, where he proposed an exactly solvable nonlinear model for unsaturated flow. The Broadbridge and White model is used internationally as a reliable predictor of “time to ponding”. Phil is also recognised for significant contributions to the area of symmetry analysis and is well regarded by other international leaders in this field. His work often provides insightful solutions to nonlinear boundary value problems, typically using nonclassical symmetry analysis, and has on at least four occasions provided useful exact solutions to long-standing unsolved physical problems (including calcium fertilisation waves, grain boundary groove formation and Arrhenius reaction-diffusion). Under Phil’s leadership, an MISG problem on bubbling of wet gummed wine labels resulted in a joint publication in SIAM review, with an image of a wine label appearing on the journal cover.

Phil has been awarded nearly $9m in research and development projects in Australia, Japan and the US (including $1m from the ARC and $5.6m from industry).

Activities enhancing Industrial and Applied Mathematics

Phil took on the heavy responsibility as Director of AMSI during 2006-2009, during which time the Institute flourished. AMSI became the major advocate for mathematics in Australia, ensuring that the discipline has a strong voice at all national and policy-making levels. Phil was instrumental in securing large government grants and industry sponsors to set up the first round of AMSI Internships, to run a national project on teaching mathematics to engineers, and to review APRA’s ratings system of financial institutions. He was presented with the 2008 Fast Thinking/ Open Universities National Innovation Award in the category of science innovation on behalf of AMSI.

Phil has shown tremendous leadership in establishing formal links with international research groups. He formalised a relationship with SIAM and later instigated relationships with JSIAM and developed the LaTrobe University branch of the Kyushu University Institute of Maths for Industry (IMI) in Japan. These links have provided an opportunity for Australian mathematicians to engage with other researchers in Asia. Phil was awarded a distinguished service award from Kyushu University in 2019, and he was also co-director of the joint ANZIAM-ZPAMS conference held in Hangzhou, China in November 2016.

As a full professor since 1991, Phil has made significant contributions as Head of School at Wollongong, Delaware, and LaTrobe. In all these places, the discipline of mathematics has thrived under his leadership. Phil has supervised 13 PhD students to completion (including 6 women), many of whom now work in academia, both in Australia and overseas. He has been a strong advocate for women mathematicians, receiving the Women in Science and Engineering award on behalf of the Mathematics department at the University of Delaware, for the development of future women faculty during his time there.

Phil is on the editorial board of 11 international journals, including acting as the subject editor for the prestigious Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series A.

Contributions to ANZIAM

Phil has been an ardent supporter and participant in ANZIAM activities since the early 1980s. He served as Chair of ANZIAM (2012-2014), developing the MISG Memorandum of Understanding, playing a key role in the inclusion of the ECR Workshop in ANZIAM meetings, and overseeing changes to ANZIAM publishing agreements. As a member of the AustMS Committee on Division and Interest Group Finances, he bolstered the financial stability of ANZIAM and improved its relationship with AustMS and AMPAI. He was director of the 1999 ANZIAM conference and co-organised the 2003 ICIAM meeting. Phil has been a member of the ANZIAM Journal editorial board since 2008 and has participated in numerous MISG groups, acting as a problem moderator on many occasions.

Phil has an extremely positive outlook and is always supportive of early career researchers and women in mathematics. He gives freely of his time and ideas and seldom seeks the limelight for this inventiveness.

Updated: 20 Feb 2022